Every man in Florida and elsewhere has the right to know if he has a child out there, and every child has the right to know who his or her father is. Establishing paternity is a fairly easy process, and it offers quite a few benefits to all involved.
What are the benefits of establishing paternity? How does one go about getting paternity established?
There are quite a few benefits offered by taking the time to establish paternity. After parentage is determined, mothers can seek child support by petitioning the court. If approved, it will help them be better able to afford to meet the needs of their children.
For potential fathers, establishing paternity will allow them the right to seek some level of physical custody or visitation rights. This will allow them the ability to build relationships with their kids. Finally, for children, knowing who one's parents are can provide much-needed answers. It can give a child a sense of self, it allows him or her the ability to get to know his or her dad, and it gives the child access to:
- Family history
- Monetary support
- Medical records
The benefits for mother, father and child are simply too great to ignore.
How to establish paternity
It is possible to determine paternity in one of two ways: DNA testing and paternity acknowledgment. DNA testing requires a court order and a court-approved lab. It is a simple process, generally requiring a swab of inner cheek cells or a blood draw. Test results can take several weeks. With the acknowledgment of parentage, both parents agree that the child is theirs and sign a legal document stating such. No testing is necessary.
After paternity is successfully established, the mother and father can then file motions in court in order to start child support collection and establish a custody plan.
Why not do it?
It is better to have answers about paternity than not. It is better to be able to exercise your parental rights than to not have any at all. Finally, many believe it is better for a child to receive support from both his or her mother and father if at all possible. So why not go through the testing process? If you believe that you have a child out there whom you wish to have access to and support, you can take the legal steps necessary to establish paternity.